Mind & Happiness 09
The word vēdānta literally means the “conclusion” or “end” (anta) of “knowledge” (vēda), & denotes the philosophical conclusions of the Vēdas. These philosophical conclusions are contained in Vedic texts known as the Upaniṣads, & were later expressed more clearly & in greater detail in 2 other ancient texts known as the Brahma Sūtra & the Bhagavad Gītā.
These 3 bodies of literature, which are known as the “triple source” (prasthāna-traya) of vēdānta, have been interpreted in very different ways, giving rise to 3 distinct systems of vēdāntic philosophy, the pure monistic system known as advaita, the dualistic system known as dvaita, & the qualified monistic system known as viśiṣṭādvaita. Of these 3 systems of philosophy, advaita is not only the most radical but also the least convoluted interpretation of the ancient prasthāna-traya of vēdānta, & hence it is widely recognized as being vēdānta in its purest & truest form.
However, advaita is more than just a scholarly interpretation of some ancient texts. Like the literature of any other system of religious or spiritual philosophy, the literature of advaita includes a huge amount of elaborate & abstruse material written by & for scholars, but such material is not the essence or basis of the advaita philosophy. The Life & Heart of advaita
vēdānta lies in a number of crucial texts that contain the sayings & writings of Sages like Sri Ramana who had attained true Self-Knowledge, & whose words therefore reflect their own direct experience of the Reality.
Thus advaita vēdānta is a system of spiritual philosophy that is based not upon mere reasoning or intellectual speculation, but upon the experience of Sages who have attained direct Knowledge of the Non-Dual Reality that underlies the appearance of all multiplicity.
The word advaita literally means “no-2–ness” or “Non-Duality”, & denotes the Truth experienced by Sages – the Truth that the Reality is only One, a single undivided whole that is completely devoid of any Duality or Multiplicity. According to Sages who have attained true Self-Knowledge, all Multiplicity is a mere appearance, a distorted view of the one Reality, like the illusory appearance of a Snake seen in a dim light. Just as the Reality underlying the illusory appearance of the Snake is just a Rope lying on the ground, so the Reality underlying the illusory appearance of Multiplicity is only the Non-Dual Consciousness of Existence that we each experience as “I exist”.
Sri Ramana”s Teachings are therefore identified with advaita vēdānta for 3 main reasons:
1stly because he experienced & taught the same Non-Dual Reality that was experienced by the Sages whose sayings & writings formed the foundation of the advaita vēdānta philosophy;
2ndly because he was often asked to explain & elucidate various texts from the classical literature of advaita vēdānta; &
3rdly because in his Teachings he made free but nevertheless selective use of the terminology, concepts & analogies used in that classical advaita vēdānta literature. The reason he thus used the terminology & concepts of advaita vēdānta more than those of any other spiritual tradition, such as Buddhism [Huang Po, etc.], Taoism [Lao Tse], Jewish [Melchesedek ?], or Christian [Eckhart] mysticism, or Sufism [Ib’n Arabi’s inerviewee], is that most of the people who sought his spiritual guidance were more familiar with advaita vēdānta than with those other spiritual traditions, & hence it was easier for them to understand such terminology & concepts.
However, whenever anyone asked him to elucidate any text or passage from the literature of those other spiritual traditions, he did so with the same ease, clarity & authority that he elucidated the texts of advaita vēdānta.
The above themes & 2500 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com
Duplicate blogs (but with graphics) have been available on:
http://www.blogger.com as “Being-as-Consciousness, Non-Duality – new & final version” with link:
“There is no Creation, no Destruction, no Bondage, no longing to be freed from Bondage, no striving for Liberation, nor anyone who has attained Liberation. Know that this to be Ultimate Truth.”
– the “no creation” school of Gaudapada, Shankara, Ramana, Nome – Ajata Vada
for very succinct summary of the teaching & practice, see: www.ajatavada.com/